Sometimes I hate it when the Times goes slumming. It's like the Vows editors have set up a Microsoft Outlook alert that periodically reminds them to interrupt the typical rotation – your renegade dating columnists-turned-wifeys, your power lesbians, your affable foreign dignitaries – for a solemn celebration of How The Other Half Lives.
But I'm also an enormous sap. There used to be this commercial with a girl whose mother takes her to McDonalds as a reward for finishing a book by herself for the first time, and then the guy behind the counter hands her a menu in Braille, and I mean, I can't even describe the spot without significant emotional turmoil. So as you might imagine, this tale of a homeless ex-con marrying a drug-addicted single mom at the behest of her cherubic 5-year-old was quite the tearjerker at the Nefler household:
I could actually just boil the whole thing down to its first and last sentences ("Paul Sousa never imagined he would marry downriver from where he camped out many nights as a homeless child growing up with an alcoholic mother. … It was the first wedding he had ever attended.") and you'd see what I mean, but then you'd miss this:
Yet the couple couldn't get too serious. Twelve-step programs always counsel participants to avoid big decisions in the first year of sobriety. Still, she stayed sober and "the red flags were turning into pink hearts," he said, laughing. But one day, Alannah, now 5, told Mr. Sousa, "Paul, I want you to be my stepdad."
He teased her: "What do I have to do? An application? Interview process?"
She looked at him and said confidently, "You have to marry my mom."
It's genuinely touching, and it makes many of the other announcements seem enormously snobby and superficial in comparison. Luckily, snobbish superficiality is exactly what we're here for. Win-win! Onward.
I'm convinced Woody Allen wrote the script for the marriage of Rebecca Rosenberg and Justin Soffer, who met "at a benefit party at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan." They both have jobs that don't really exist in real life (the bride is a "freelance writer and video producer of marketing and promotional materials" and the groom is "a vice president of subscriber marketing at Travelzoo.com") and there's even a generation gap, which was exposed in the wake of a Charles in Charge reference gone bust. The first time they met, they decided to go in on raffle tickets together. Do I need to tell you if they won?
True confessions: I have a soft spot for the surprisingly many geologists and scientists that the Times trots out each week, so I should note that while Naomi Levin and Benjamin Passey both "rock" – thank you – they are no match for Jordan Garner and Dominic Colosi.
These 23-year old recent Yale graduates could not bear to leave New Haven (which, by the way, is a city on the move!); both took jobs at the university, she as a "collections assistant in the vertebrate zoology division of the Peabody Museum of Natural History" and he as a "research assistant on mass spectrometry at the university's Earth Systems Center for Stable Isotopic Studies." Man, how come all of my friends are just dumb old analysts?
Speaking of friends, in the interest of full disclosure I should note that I know this bride, and she is wonderful and lovely. And she also knows how to pick em: "the bridegroom is a maternal great-great-grandson of Levi P. Morton, the vice president under Benjamin Harrison, and governor of New York from 1895 to 1897. The bridegroom is also a direct descendant of Peter Stuyvesant, the last Dutch governor of the colony of New Netherland."
Elsewhere this weekend, Amanda Congdon – remember her? - married the director and editor of her vlog (her celebrated rack is not visible in the photo, unfortunately); Dick Cheney's former social secretary, who must have had a pretty light work load, married a National Security Council staffer; someone's dad literally wrote the book on Economics; the grandaughter of the ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Panama, Pakistan, and Iran kept it international and married an Australian; and once again a well-executed neg (this one in the Bahamas) led to lasting bliss, proving that Mystery really is a modern genius.
In this weeks faceoff, we explore which of two blonde Sewanee graduates has entered into a union that is worth more to society:
The bride works for Ralph Lauren and looks like she works for Ralph Lauren: +3
The groom graduated from Stanford: +2
The groom's father "is the founder and a managing partner of European Property Partners, an investment firm that focuses on the French real estate market": +2
The bride's parents own a furniture store: -1
It's in Hilton Head: +1
The groom is a principal at his real estate firm: +2
Bride is at the ideal marriage age (25): +2
Bride graduated summa cum laude and received a masters in elementary education from Columbia: +6
The groom is studying for his MBA: +2
It's not at an Ivy League school: -1
The couple got married at the church where the brides father is a priest: +2. Man, that's really taking the Scary Father in Law concept to the next level, no?
Our key takeaway? Blond Sewanee graduates are pretty boring. Especially when compared to the drug addicts, who, by the way, are expecting their first child together. Now if you'll excuse me, it's getting a little dusty in here.
[Ed. This is a good shot of Congdon's rack. Enjoy.]